Roving Comforter (RoCo) – A Personal Cooling and Heating Device

RoCo is a Roving Personal Comfort device, which provides ultimate personal thermal management for people in inadequately or un-conditioned environments. It provides 12% to 30%  energy savings compared with typical conditioned buildings systems, and better thermal and mobile comfort to occupants.

The first prototype was showcased at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, which was held at National Harbor, MD from February 29 - March 2, 2016.  A later prototype was displayed at on April 30, 2016 at Maryland Day, at the University of Maryland Campus. It was demonstrated at Maker Faire, in San Francisco on May 20, 2016.

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Hear all about it! RoCo has been featured in the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Bloomberg News, and Direct Current amoungst others.

For information about the RoCo project contact Dr. Reinhard Radermacher, 301-405-5286.


RoCo is equipped with unmatched comfort technology and the robotic platform follows designated users

Roco provides cooling or heating as required using directional Wi-Fi from wearable device or RF.  The advanced module is fully autonomous and equipped with face recognition technology to allow add-on features, such as security access check and mobile personal toolbox.


RoCo learns your thermal requirements

RoCo’s intelligent nozzle smartly delivers conditioned air to parts of the body needing it most. As various parts of the body have different sensitivity levels for thermal sensation, RoCo ensures you benefit from cooling or heating  most through flexible nozzles that adjust supply air locations and conditions.

The high-end module will save personal preference data such as air temperature and velocity for different human metabolic rates.


Significantly more efficient than conventional systems

The heart of this personal cooling/heating device is the next generation miniature heat pump system with built-in PCM storage. Benefiting from linear mini-compressor and next generation air-to-refrigerant heat exchangers, the system delivers cooling and heating at minimum power consumption without releasing waste heat.

It is 30 percent more efficient than conventional residential or commercial heat pump systems.  This significantly cuts utility bills.


RoCo research is sponsored by Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) through a three-year contract. University of Maryland investigates performance in terms of comfort, energy efficiency, operating characteristics, ease of use and customer acceptance taking advantage of an open innovation platform.


All photos and images copyright 2016 University of Maryland.